What Do You Think

I think it is a challenge to live a solitary life. I don’t dislike it, but I reminisce  too much about sad events. It’s like my past has tentacles that slither out of the photo albums, out of the closets, out of the desks and cabinets to wrap themselves, insinuate themselves into my present. I spend days prying their suction cups off of my psyche, until I give up and just allow the octopus to swallow me whole.

the fall at arby's,con't 152
dusk
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striped reflection

The SLOG of Joy

Grumble. Growl. Grunt.

.   Swear. Sweat. Stomp.

. Punch. Pound. Pant.

.  Breathe. Binge. Boss.

.  Shout. Scream, Smear.

.  Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.

.  There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.

.   There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.

This is where every. breath. matters.

.    DO YOU HEAR ME?

EVERY BREATH MATTERS.

Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry  in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.

.  I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.

.  I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.

THE PAIN of it ALL

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What do I say to a black mother whose son was murdered at the hands, or knee, of a white man?

.   I saw George dying, in front of all the world, murdered. Every fiber of my being cried out for action to save him, knock that cop off of him, hurt those who were hurting him, scream “STOP!!!!!” at the loudest volume my wind and stretching vocal cords could scream. I saw him die. I could see the actual moment the life left him, we all could. His killer’s arrogance galled me, I cried as if George was my own. Those awful, endless minutes are now emblazoned on my conscience, and the world’s. But George’s suffering was finally over, the pain had ended for him. His family’s pain goes on.

.    My daddy died unjustly, and it took years for my anger and pain to subside. But, then, I am white. And it wasn’t a police organization, or even a police man who killed him. For me it was a hospital, who killed him just as surely as if they kneeled on his neck. And he was a Sicilian man, very dark complected, 1st generation borne of immigrants to this country, but I suppose he will be considered a “white” man by history.

.   But the pain I felt is the same pain George’s loved one’s feel in this sense: there was death, it was not natural, there was injustice, and there is anger. I feel it now, these years later. I was righteously indignant, I loved my daddy more than any girl ever loved her daddy, ever in the whole world. Whole universe I thought. I never saw his flaws, he was a hero to me, and they murdered him, and someone had to pay. I had to make it right , for him. For his memory.

 Dad and Kiko
Another Day in Paradise

.   They hated me at that hospital, I believed. They had been out to get him, because we were poor, and because everyone knows doctors and hospitals only want one thing, right? Money. And we all know that there are very baaaad people in the medical field, there is a long, very, very long history of distrust in the Sicilian immigrant community against the “establishment”. It carried down from tyranny and mafioso, in the “home” country, where my ancestors were murdered and enslaved and oppressed by terrible injustice. Not only was the regime murderous and corrupt, even the local officials were, requiring payoffs and inflicting gross injustice and physical pain on the poor people who were supposed to be under their care. They had no choice, starve, be murdered, or board ships of misery with their last pennies to try living in a beckoning land across the great sea.

.  My granparents had experienced the ghettos in New York when they arrived, cramped, dirty, unlit, no facilities, living in dark, dank, freezing, stinking tenant housing in their new country. Now, instead of their tropical isle, where they knew the enemy, there were new enemies to contend with. Such hatred, such predjudice, such injustice, such poverty. All these conditions shaped the mentality of generations, the distrust of the “system”, the lack of eqaulity, the oppression…

.   My father was an angry man. For as far back as I have memory, he was mad at what he perceived as injustice in government. In another age pehaps he would have been a radical, I dont know. But he worked so hard, all his life, had  access to more education than his parents ever had, served in the military and was able to move to Florida in his early 50’s. which had been his lifelong dream. He never stopped working, even then, and I had everything I needed as his kid, except love. But I adored and idolized him, to my mother’s dismay. When I became his sole caregiver, he was my child, and I determined to never let anything bad happen to him. For all the grief I had put him through in my life as an addict, now that I was sober I would appease his every whim, and ease his Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was my reason for being, for except for my dear shih-tzu’s I had lost everyone in my family, and had no children.

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Always a Dapper Dad

.    I was a she-bear when it came to his care. Endless research, talking to pro’s and others  on caring for the elderly. But no matter what I promised him, no matter how good I cared for him, and no matter how totally committed I was in my devotion, I was not able to save him from being killed.

.   So, then. What can I say to the millions of traumatized, oppressed, angry people who are fighting right now? They will do what they believe they must, to find relief for their anger. But to the loved ones of a man who died unjustly, there is something I can say, even in my proverbial “whiteness”:  I am so, so sad for you.  I can relate. I can relate to the sickening feeling in your gut, that horrendous hot ball of lead where your heart used to be. I  remember the anger, the absolute bursting feeling of helplessness, the burning knowledge that this should never have happened to your child, your son, your daddy, your husband, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your cousin, your dear, dear friend. Your Beloved.   

.   My pain was real… Your’s is all too real right now. I will never question your pain, or think I know what you should feel, or do. I never want to exaccerbate your suffering. everyone grieves in a different way, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. there is never a right or wrong way to grieve. I wish you peace, someday…healing…a lessening of this great burden you carry.

.   My anger  was only relieved by my learning the true reason for death, suffering and in justice. Knowing and believing in the the knowledge that God will soon do away with the true source of the evils we experience as humans. the tormenter of us down thru the ages, all the way back to the garden of Eden. The father of the lie, Satan.

God had an answer to Satan’s lie right there on the spot: Jesus Christ, God’s Only-Begotten Son and The King of God’s Kingdom would crush Satan and throw him and all his cohorts into the Abyss!! It will happen very soon, when God says it is time! Then the words of Revelation will come true!

Revelation 21:3-5 reads:

.  ” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them , and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.(4)And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

(5) And the One seated on the throne said:”Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says:”Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

.   Such beautiful words…a beautiful dream, perhaps? No. A promised reality from our God who cannot lie, whose purposes always succeed, and whose prophecies always come true. I have a favorite scripture about the surety of all God’s promises coming true, maybe because I am a farmer at heart, who has always loved the rain.

.   This is in the Bible book of Isaiah, in Chapter 55, beginning in verse 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For just as the rain and snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,(11) So my word that goes out of my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”

.   Yes, The Creator of the entire Universe has everything taken care of, he has told us that he will be the only Judge, and His Son will carry out his Judgement.  The Ride of the Four Horsemen is already well underway.  One day soon our dead loved ones will be resurrected and what joy there will be, when this earth is finally free of evil and we will live forever in peace.Artwork and Pictures 056

.  Please take the time to learn what the Bible says, I want you to have the peace of mind and heart that I finally found. It is not too late, my friend.

Trying to Grieve

Whew, this is a toughie. Daddy died March 7,2016, and I know how you all have followed our journey. He was such an amazing man, and a great father(despite minor glitches, like most dads). But for me, he was my world in these last years. The reason I got up in the morning, the reason I stayed up all night. He was my dearest friend, after we lost Mom, and he was my child in so many ways.

It all comes full circle, first I am a child, they wipe my dirty nose, dirty butt. They watch me grow and change into some sort of adult, full of foibles, full of flaws. But also full of amazing acts of genius, and supreme acts of love. Sure, there is anger, and dysfunction, but the parents learn to accept, to forgive, and to love unconditionally.

Then, almost imperceptibly the roles change. The forgetful Mom, the Dad with a hitch in his step. The Child picks up the slack, a little extra help here, a mental nudge there. Then just as if it is a life running backwards, the needs grow, and the caregiving roles become more and more diverse. Take the folks to doctors, look closely to see if the take their meds. help them navigate with a cane, walker, wheelchair-just like they taught us to crawl, hold onto tables and then finally stand and walk.

I led my Daddy back to his childhood, back through his memories. I tried desperately to keep his dignity safe from pokers and prodders, from nurses shouting in his face and grabbing at injured hands. From nakedness in freezing hospital rooms, holding his water, feeding him jello. Making them listen when “MY DAD NEEDS SOMETHING FOR PAIN!!!”Just like he did for me, a 2 year old in an emergency room 50 years before.

But I want to shut those memories away now, the one’s of his suffering, the one’s of his dying in my arms, just the 2 of us here. And the memories of the big silence that seemed to fall over the house the second his last breath escaped. My Daddy, my dear friend, dear father, it is so hard to say goodbye.

I know like a fire burning deep inside that this is not the end of our togetherness. No.

You are sleeping a dreamless sleep, the kind you always wanted, when your mind would not let you rest. You are experiencing no pain, no turmoil or fear, no loneliness. You are in the safest place in the Universe, the Memory of our God, Jehovah. You are sleeping there and so is Mommy.

So are all our loved ones who have died. Jehovah, the God of Eternity is keeping all your hopes and dreams, loves and desires safe, as well as every aspect of what makes you you. And I thank Him for this knowledge, that He so freely gives in the pages of the Bible.

Mostly though, especially during this day, when 2016 years ago He let his perfect, only begotten Son, Jesus Christ lay in a tomb, tasting death for every man. Jesus had been tortured and murdered as a common criminal, nailed to a stake and left to die, he had been spat upon, laughed at, beaten and suffered at the hands of his enemies. And his heavenly Father, Jehovah, let this happen.

Why?

So that all of us, all of mankind, whether good or bad, can be forgiven of all their sins. So that all of us, all mankind, can have a chance at everlasting life. That all of us, all mankind, can join together as a family under Jesus Christ rule as King of God’s Kingdom.

Tomorrow will be the day 2016 years ago, when Jesus was resurrected, and that act, my friends, that wonderful act God performed all those years ago, is proof positive that Jehovah can and will resurrected our loved ones who have died.

To me, this is what will help me grieve, moving past the sadness of my father’s death. Because by Jesus death, all will be made alive!!

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Grief and Bipolar Disorder

Let me start this blog off by saying that I am not a health care professional, nor am I licensed in any form of mental health capacity. All I am is a person in pain, having lost a dear loved one, and who also happens to suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

So, in a sense, that makes me an expert of sorts. I say that in a lighthearted way, coming from a heart that is anything but light. Ever since Daddy died I have been running in circles, like a dog chasing it’s tail. Somehow, I am dealing with each necessary task: the funeral, the cremation, the memorial, filing for assistance for myself since Dad supported me in my disability, cleaning up all the evidence of his sickness and dying that were left here in the house. It feels like being in the center of a hurricane.

Knowing that I will soon be back in the raging storm, only this time I will be alone.

In my manic state right now, I cannot sleep, cannot rest. I either forget to eat, or I eat the wrong things in the wrong quantities. I baked a cake and cupcakes last night at 11:45, then ate 3 cupcakes before lying down. No wonder I did not sleep, right?

I keep getting up, in a half asleep stupor, thinking I have to check on him. Then I wake up sitting at my computer at 4 in the morning, all crooked and stuck like a pretzel. Once the other day I fell asleep on my face with my glasses on, and they had embedded themselves into my head. Not a nice way to awaken.

But the endless cleaning, and going from room to room carrying the strangest things, and the inability to breathe normally are also very disconcerting. I have the feeling of impending doom, the one I had for years in active addiction, the feeling that came back when Mom died in 2010, the feeling that follows me like a shadow. It keeps telling me that I am all alone now, that there is no one to love me, or hold me anymore.

It is a terrible, sad feeling, and my head knows it is not real. God loves me, and will NEVER forsake me. I am in a cloud of witnesses, all loving Jehovah, and He has tight hold of my hand. So-leave me alone, terrible darkness! Stay at bay, awful sadness!

Please God, help me have soundness of mind, help me to have a quiet heart, a hopeful spirit, and faith sure and strong!! I know that you hear me, in the name of Jesus.

I am loved, and I am safe. I will never walk alone!

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Loving Too Much?

I have been my Dad’s Primary Caregiver for over six years now, and I was Mom’s before that as she battled and succumbed to colo/rectal cancer. It has been a long road, hard yes, but also full of love and tender moments that I treasure.

Dad has been relatively pain free all his life, always proud of his fine health and “dancer’s body”. He says this in a swaggering tone, referring to days long, long ago when he Tap Danced in department store windows and on street corners. Probably around 1936-39. he also has battled worsening Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which is severe now. But , like I said, no real pain except minor aches from time to time.

Fast forward to today. He has declined so rapidly in the past few months, not eating, not getting out of bed, sleeping all the time or staring out in space. Worst of all , though, is this pain. Dad is suffering, and now I fear he will be taken away from me. If that is what has to happen for him to get relief, then I have to do that for him.

It is his hands that hurt him so bad now, and after a doctor visit, xrays and a trip to the emergency room yesterday, he is said to probably have cancer that has metastisized to his bones. The problem is his insurance now.

He has been waiting since the 4th to get the referral he needs from his Primary care Doctor. An 88 year old Veteran who can’t get a simple referral to an oncologist? I am about to get fiesty with the Doctor. I used to be a violent person before God changed me to a peace lover. But when my Daddy is threatened I am like a mother Grizzly.

I hope none of you have to live through these issues in your own life. If you do, try to squeeze every good, kind, loving remembrance out of each moment with your loved one. Even when the are hurting and cranky, even when they don’t recognize you or seem to like you at all- keep squeezing. It is God’s foremost attribute, and when we aspire to love and care for those who are our own He showers His Love down on us. It covers a lifetime of Guilt and broken dreams.

I love you Daddy, even when you don’t know it.

 

Where Am I?

The life is Busy, life of a caregiver. It revolves around his existence, the ebb and flow of his life force. He gets out of bed later each day, goes to bed earlier, communicates less, gazes dimly ahead more often.

He wants to eat less, if ever. Sleep overcomes him in an instant, no matter what we are doing. His face fades into blues and purples when he sleeps. His mouth droops, and I desperately look for his breathing, letting out my held breath when I finally discern the rise and fall of his shirt.

Sleep escapes me. I writhe. Only to be spat out of me bed at 5 am like a broken pretzel. A broken glass pretzel.

I will stop for now. The pain wins again.more self portraits 028

Brainstorming

I am feeling a bit more positive than I was in this morning’s post, Dad got up for a while around 2pm, I laid on the couch dozing on and off, keeping my eyes and ears on alert. He fell on Wednesday, big gash on his head, poor Pops.

It happened while his caregiver was here, she called me saying there has been an accident. I believe the first thing you should tell a loved one is that the patient is OK before you dump the accident stuff on them. It keeps from shaving a couple years off their lifespan, because, as a family member, your heart just falls out of your chest when you hear,

” Hello, Ms. Kiko? There has been a terrible accident…”

What is the first thing you think of? Yup, I thought so: That he is dead or maimed or otherwise terribly injured.

So, I had been dropping off a painting at the Art Gallery, so I raced the 10 miles to the hospital in rush hour traffic, all the while telling myself that, as a law abiding Christian, I should be setting a good example and pleasing God by obeying the speed limit. I really tried, and I do always try, but that is a difficult task when your Dad is lying helpless and afraid in an Emergency Room.

I hit the Hospital doors at a trot, had my ID already in hand to be checked in, and rushed down the hall to his bedside, ready to find him at death’s door.

Of course, the scene that greeted me was quite different!

“Hiya there! Where have you been?”, he laughs with a big smile.

He smiles his most charming at the cute little nurse who is taking his blood pressure.

“Are you Ok, Dad? I heard you had a bad fall!”

He looks at me quizically, “Did I?”

I could just pinch him, but he looks so little and frail in the big hospital bed, so I kiss him on the cheek instead. Now I can see the big gash on his scalp, and blood all over the pillow. Oh, my, I think, here we go again. I just cannot bear him spending any time in this hospital, this is the place where he fell twice in May, the place that caused him so much anguish mentally, the hospital that hastened his Alzheimer’s Disease and broke his spirit, and the place where I had to face the reality of my losing him. Imminent. On the Horizon.

I hate that hospital. I told Dad’s doctor that I am trying to sue them for what they had done to him, and the doctor brings me back to reality: I am going to do whatever is necessary to get your Dad better from this fall…

Now I feel like a real heel, like that wasn’t what I wanted too?

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs:

  I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS!!!!

I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH MY FATHER DIE!!!

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS FALL TO ME? TO SEE MY PARENTS, TO SEE THE PEOPLE I NEED, THE PEOPLE I LOVE, TO SEE THEM ALL LEAVING?

TO SEE THEM ALL DYING.

TO BE LEFT HERE all alone.

But, I did not say anything except , Ok. Thank You.

Now you understand a little more why I am so tired today, this month, this year.

Each day that goes by I feel a little more dead myself,

all tied up in my solitary cell, watching my life pass by.

I know deep inside that I want to do this, and I want to be with Daddy till the end. I just get so lonely at times. But I don’t mean to sound bitter. I am grateful for everyday I have. Just feeling a bit sorry for myself tonight. It will get better- I promise!

I will place my burdens on Jehovah tonight, He will hear my cries for help. I will pray in Jesus dear name, and Jehovah will breath new endurance into me.

His promises will all come true.Picture 731

We Are Home…Aren’t We?

He sleeps hours on end while I fret.

He sits up in a recliner while I cook and fret.

He gets up to pee, yep, I fret.

He fights me over using his walker, my fretting heart pounds, fretting hands shake.

He is sad that he scared me, I feel guilty for that-and that makes me fret.

He smiles again, now back in bed, I try to lie down too.

I am fretting so much, I get up and clean,

” The visiting nurse will think I am an unfit caregiver…”

” The health department will take Dad away…”

” I better make more jello…”

Fretting, I twist my hands together and bite my lip.

” I must rest! Lay down and rest Kiko! Ok, ok I will…”

“Just as soon as I mop that backroom, there was a spot of kitty puke…”

” Oh, and there…oh, and there…there…there.”A Search for Sue 026

” I really must quit fretting and lie down, I am exhausting myself…”

I lie down on the couch, heart pounding, back burning, mind racing.

Willing myself to rest I feel the room move away, and a warm cloud embrace.

Breathing slows, muscles begin to loosen and sleep is at the door…

He wakes up…I leap up, fretting that he will fall before I get there.

My mind feels like it is full of silver needles in a messy pile,

the needles are the shiny lines where my thoughts should be.

When they find us on the floor, which one will be on the bottom?

Fretting, I go change into clean knickers just in case.Picture 345

Except I don’t have any, cause I have been fretting to much to wash.

I would have to leave him, and go outside to the washer.

He looks up from his cushy pillow, under the nicest comforter.

He says, “I love you.”

“Sit down now, and rest.”

The fretting stops, the faith flows in, and I lie down next to Dad,

and rest.Artwork and Pictures 058

My Life’s Work

I have not been going out preaching, the God-given work I love. As one of Jehovah’s dedicated Witnesses, I have promised to tell my fellow man about “the good news from God”. I must help them learn to take in accurate knowledge from the Bible, to put faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, to repent from past mistakes. Then, when they are ready, I can be there when they are baptized and dedicated to serving Jehovah, right alongside the rest of us.

Many people who are opposed to Jehovah’s Witnessed don’t know why we go door to door, or out in the ministry as we call it. They wonder why we would do something so annoying as bothering people at their homes. There actually is a very good reason to do this, one that is designed to help even the people who don’t like us:

We do it out of Love. Love for Jehovah God, and love for our fellow man.

God’s inspired Word, The Bible, explains when it says, at the book of Matthew 22:37,38,

“He said to him:”You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment.”

( If I love God this way, then I will obey Him, to make him happy.) Then the Scriptures go on to say, in Matthew 22:39,

” The second, like it, is this: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

( Here I believe that I must love my fellow man as my own brother, and so doing, I must do what ever I can to help him, to save his life. Because I love Jehovah, I will try to save even people who hate me, because God does not want anyone to be destroyed. So, just as I would throw my neighbor a life preserver if he were drowning-I will knock on his door and give him the life saving message( of God’s means of salvation from a dying world) that God has commanded me to give.)

This answers people who just think that J.W.’s are crazy to go door to door, that we are just there to aggravate them. We come to do a life saving work, out of love. And our door to door preaching was even commanded by Jesus, who gave us an example to follow. The Bible says, at Matthew 28:19,20,

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”

( If Jesus commanded me to go out and make disciples, then I must teach others to go out and do the same thing, and they will teach their students,etc., etc….)

And if someone I talk to still thinks I could just put a sign out, the Bible, God’s inspired Book of directions, describes the disciples of Jesus Christ doing this witnessing work centuries ago. In the Bible book of Acts, chapter 20, verse 20, we read,

“…while I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house. But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.”

Also, this method of preaching is again mentioned in Acts 5:42, where the apostle Paul writes under inspiration,

” And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.”

Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses have other avenues of preaching available, for instance, a handicapped person like myself can write letters or call people locally. I have even found the courage to witness to my neighbor’s right here, on my own blog. All I know is that I love Jehovah, and I love you all out there, too.

It would be wonderful if I could meet you someday in Paradise, and find out that you came to know Jehovah after you read some lady’s blog. But even if I never know someone that I preach to, I do know that Jehovah’s will shall be done. That one day wars will cease, and wickedness will not be found anymore. Dead ones will rise from their graves and live again with their families, on an Earth that is no longer dying or polluted. Animals of all kinds will lose their fear of mankind and each other, and a child will be able to pet a lion and come to no harm. No one will ever have to feel pangs of hunger, of cry out of loneliness or fear, or pain.

Children won’t die of cancer anymore, neither will anyone die in war. Food will grow, water will be drinkable, love will flourish.

We will know what true happiness is, for the first time.

I hope we are there together. May you find peace, love and rest from your weary road, my neighbor…

after all: Jehovah loves us.White black bird 018Picture 213